Thursday, 31 January 2013

Ending January, without a wave

It's fair to say that I am extremely keen to wave goodbye to January. Although I've had some good times:

It's mainly been a month full of tears and no change, which is really not how I wanted my year to begin.
Towards the end of this month we had some great news regarding Nathan and hopefully soon the confirmation of the job he's wanted since he was a little boy. Extremely proud of him and this news hopefully means we will be able to kick-start our life together as a couple.

Unfortunately however, I'm letting the side down. I'm still working part-time and even though I'm temping in an office a few days a week now to boost my funds, it still isn't enough. So I think that's the thing that's really placing a dampener on life right now and it's hard to not beat myself up because of it.

In other news, I have two days until I am officially a student again. I'm going to be a student of Psychology beginning on the 2nd February.
I'm extremely nervous about combining the studying with work/perhaps a full-time job somewhere in the pipeline, but at the same time I'm crossing my fingers that studying is going to give me that focus back that I've been lacking ever since I left Kingston. My tutors have e-mailed me to introduce themselves, and my tutorials are all set and booked, with the first two due to start next week.

I haven't really spoken much about my degree and beginning studying again because I guess I don't want to jinx it. I was so ecstatic about Kingston until a month later realising that it really wasn't for me. I then came back to work, a university drop-out, and everyone's reactions to me completely changed and since then I've been really unhappy. I keep getting questions from various people asking me when/if I'm going back to studying (a few being incredibly sarcastic and rude about the whole thing) and after telling them I'm starting a degree with the Open University, I get jeers and criticism, as clearly, if you don't move out and study a degree the 'traditional' way, it isn't considered a real degree.

And I guess I'm bored of the criticism which is why I've barely told anyone about it. What people are failing to understand is that I don't have to change to suit a lifestyle that isn't for me. I've always been a person that doesn't do things the traditional way - my battle with mental health problems and entering a long-term relationship aged 16 most certainly proved that. But if studying a degree with the OU is right for ME and is what makes ME happy, I don't see why it should matter to anyone else. I've had one positive comment from my colleagues regarding the whole thing, the rest have been entirely dismissive.

You can't make an assumption or criticise anyone's life choices unless you've walked at least a mile in their shoes. Maybe more. And I guess the judgemental comments I'm beginning to receive about MY life choices is beginning to get on my nerves a little. But hey, I'll fight through it as I always do. I'm excited to start my degree, nonetheless, and I'll keep you all updated with my progress.

In other news, you may or may not know that I am putting together a collaboration video for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013, which begins on the 11th February. I've already had some fantastic contributions for this project and am in the process of editing the footage together but if you would like to take part (there is still time!) please drop me a comment on this video and I'll send you a message with the instructions.

Thank you!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Charity and fundraising promotion :)

I guess you could argue that 2013 isn't exactly kicking off the way I wanted it to.

But there's always time for change and improvement, right? Work issues, confidence issues, and as of today driving issues have really knocked me down, you could say. Also not feeling too well physically either - had a headache and earache and issues with sinuses for about 3 days now. As always, I know I'll come back fighting.

I'm here today to talk with you all about a counselling programme that those who live in the Port/Chester area may be interested in. Kel O'Neill is a good friend of mine who now a fully-trained counsellor and is offering her private practice services to anyone struggling with a wide variety of issues, from eating disorders to depression, to bullying and bereavement.

I met Kel during my role as a 'WeRFreEDomFighter' for a collaborative YouTube channel working to raise Eating Disorder awareness and can honestly say she is a kind-hearted and wonderful lady who has achieved so much. As well as working in private practice she has experience in working as a private counsellor for the NHS and is a member of the BACP.

If you are reading this and are interested in the services that Kel has to offer, we'd both really appreciate it if you contacted her via her website which you can find here:

In other promotional news, a lovely friend of mine called Emma and her friend Nay are currently needing all the sponsorship they can get as they are planning to trek across Iceland for the eating disorder charity Beat! As you can imagine, this is an incredible feat and with that they would like plenty of sponsorship, so please sponsor either Emma: or Nay: - by clicking the links I have just posted!

I think that's all my promotional work done for the day, so have a good one!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Eating disorders and the gym *trigger warning*

Something happened today which left my little fingers twitching to write a blogpost about it.

I've been a member of a gym for about 4 months now. I decided that I'd go to aid Nathan along with his fitness, as well as treating myself to the extra luxeries that this gym had compared to my previous gym, for example sauna, jacuzzi, proper gym complex, etc in comparison to my old gym, just next door, but most definately not worth it.

At no point during this period has my gym experience triggered the relapse of my eating disorder. I've been what I call 'recovered' for a fair few years now and despite still massively struggling with my body image, it's not something I would desire to turn anorexic for again.

My gym offers free health MOTs and I decided I would give it a go. I half-expected my health to be pretty poor as it happened, but surprise surprise, I had an extremely high aerobic level for someone who gets out of breath extremely quickly and feels dizzy and weak all the time.

Part of my health MOT involved a weight, height and BMI calculation. I guess you could say I was about 40% worried about this, I'd weighed myself the day before and somehow had this massive fight with myself that whoever ran this BMI test would judge me on my weight. I convinced myself it was an irrational fear and moved on from that.

The guy doing the health MOT was extremely sarcastic, and not in a good way. I was getting frustrated at his light-hearted and quite rude attitude towards everything, until he done my waist to hip ratio. He took the tape measure and placed it around my waist, to which he then said 'wow, you need to eat some beef stew and dumplings, I reckon'.

I guess you could argue I was taken aback by this comment. For a fitness instructor to rudely comment on my waist size without clearly knowing my past seemed to shock me.
Later on in the MOT he revealed the results of my BMI. My weight was lower than what my scales at home had suggested and no surprise to myself, I was underweight. He smirked, and asked me if this surprised me, and I said not really as I was anorexic as a teenager.

The shock on his face satisfied me a little, as he'd realise he'd landed his foot in the whole thing. He was speechless for 5 seconds before sympathetically saying, 'we..well....well you look....WELL, now!' and the whole 'how are things now?', etc. I'd clearly shocked him and taken him by surprise.

I wasn't 'offended' as such by his comments, just a little disgusted. I think weight needs to be monitored more efficiently by gyms and also feel that gyms need to be trained to be prepared to deal with those like I, wanting to return to a healthy lifestyle after suffering from an eating disorder for the majority of her teenage years.
The instructor asked me lots of questions about my health history, but never did once ask me a question about any past history of eating disorders/weight problems. And I think that's where gyms are going wrong.

Don't get me wrong, gyms mostly have a subscription rate of those who want to get fit and healthy, and perhaps lose a few pounds. But gyms can also be used in the opposite way and can be used to fuel ones eating disorder. Gyms can be overused by sufferers and be used as a tool to drastically lose weight. And these kinds of issues are falling by the wayside.
I'm not really sure how I feel about gyms 'intervening' if they suspect one of their customers has an eating disorder, and still remain undecided. But I think gyms need to be educated about the various stages and areas of life where their customers come from, and have a more sympathetic approach to those who may take exercise that little bit too far.

I'm not entirely sure where I'm getting at with this post.

So I'm going to leave it to you guys,
What improvements do you think gyms need to make to improve service towards those in the depths of an eating disorder, those at the beginning of recovery, or those, like me, who are recovered?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Taking the time out to wish my wonderful fellow bloggers and followers a very Happy New Year!

I saw the new year in as I have done every year since I met my boyfriend, cuddled up on the sofa, watching the fireworks. I was insistent not to watch the fireworks this year. I tried to ignore the fact that a new year was approaching and didn't want to make a huge fuss out of it - every year I feel this massive pressure to be this different and invented person. But my boyfriend convinced me to watch them - and they were absolutely spectacular. Once more, I felt grateful to live in London where these kinds of events took place - my boyfriend has insisted on us going up into central next year to watch them.

My boyfriend has this habit of being incredibly soppy on New Years Eve, and this year was no exception. When I was going on about how I was panicking about the prospect of a new year, a new beginning, and what could happen. He then took my face, looked into my eyes, and told me that it didn't matter what we had to face in 2013, or for the rest of our lives, but we would face it together and that was the most important thing. Which, as it does every year, made me cry. I'm incredibly lucky to have this amazing man in my life, the one I want to marry and live with and spend the rest of my life with. It's going to be a hard year, but I/we can do it.

As I mentioned yesterday, I set myself some goals, as opposed to resolutions. Resolutions, to me, means to better yourself, and I'm going to try not to see my 'goals' as a way of bettering myself, but my life.
Was speaking to one of my best friends last night who quite simply stated; 'fuck everyone else. 2013 is your year'. She is so right.

1) Begin my new degree in Psychology,  work to the best of my ability, and pass assessments :)
2) Hopefully either get a new job or try and get more hours in my current one! (hardest and most stressful one!)
3) Pass my driving test/theory - seems impossible right now regarding my anxiety about driving, but I'm going to try my hardest.
4) Say YES to more things! My anxiety seems to be the reason why I tend to say no to people more often in regard to going out, etc, or just any opportunity. This year I want to shake a stick to anxiety and say yes!
5) Travel and visit friends. I have some brilliant friends, all at University, who I'd love to go and visit. I'm also hoping this is going to be the year that I finally go abroad (yes, for the first time) - and begin my adventures in travelling.
6) Practice my creative writing - whilst at University for the short while I was there, I was always praised for my creative writing during the module and it was something I begun to enjoy. So at some point soon I'm going to be starting a new blog to practice my creative writing, as well as a place to discuss books I've read/book reviews (to help sustain my love for Literature)
7) Try something new/expand out of my comfort zone
8) Turn 21 in style! (I can't believe I am going to be 21!)
9) Drink more water! - my lack of hydration worsens many of my health problems!
10) Complete the 25 book challenge - I would have done 50 but with the busy year it looks as if I'm about to have, I'm not sure if I will have time for that! I got a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas to continue my obssession with reading on!

And overall, accept myself and my flaws and generally learn to love life. Don't take any shit from other people and keep the true ones close. Keep working hard and what I want will pay off, I hope. Here's praying for no relapses and downsides, but if they happen they are a part of recovery that I need to embrace.

Happy new year - what are your goals for 2013?
Have a great one!